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More than a year after the Covid-19 pandemic, many American employees who have worked from home are itching to get moving again.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the office. For many, it means finding new jobs.

A poll published this week by Bankrate.com found that 55% of Americans plan to find a new job in the next year.

Your top motivations: more flexibility and higher pay.

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Called the great resignation, comes the expected influx of career moves as there are millions of vacancies in certain industries.

But before they take the next opportunity, workers should think twice about what they really want, said Roger Ma, certified financial planner, founder of Lifelaidout and author of the book, Work Your Money, Not Your Life: How to Balance Your Career. and personal finance to get what you want. “

“The first thing I would do is find out if you are running away from something or walking towards something you are looking forward to?” said Ma.

“If you’re running away from something like you don’t like your job for some reason, I would take the time to think about what you want in a job.”

In some cases, in today’s job market, you may not necessarily have to change jobs.

How to optimize your current job into the job you want

Sometimes a small change in your current role can make all the difference, Ma said.

You can consider volunteering on a project that interests you on your team or on another team. For example, if you’re in a sales role and want to gain more strategy experience, you can offer to help create your team’s 2022 business plan.

“This will allow you to experiment to get more data, to find out what you like and what you don’t, but also possibly to fill in any skill gaps,” Ma said.

Alternatively, you can also consider gaining experience outside of your current position.

Often times, people are looking for that perfect job that has everything from intellectual stimulation to adequate pay to positive social engagement, Ma said. “That’s a lot to put pressure on a job to do that.”

By taking up a side job, you may be able to fill some of these gaps. For example, this could be a place to use your entrepreneurial skills when you cannot do so in your day-to-day job.

Many workers tend to think that they can either have a full-time job or start a business.

“It doesn’t have to be an either-or situation,” Ma said. “Maybe you can do both, and it might be easier than you think.”

The key to being successful with a sideline is to go into what you want to accomplish with a clear intention and reevaluate that along the way, he said.

When signs say it’s time to find a new job

Granted, there may be signs that your current position is no longer appropriate and that it is time to move on.

“There isn’t really an ideal job where you get everything,” Ma said. “That is why it is important to prioritize what these two or three ‘must-to-haves’ are, which are non-negotiable in a job and what are the ‘nice-to-haves’.”

Deal breakers can be limited growth opportunities or a poor work-life balance.

Remember that the “musts” you had in your 20s can change significantly in your 30s and 40s, so it’s important to periodically reassess these ideals.

“There are seasons in your career,” said Ma. ‚ÄúThese ‘must-haves’ can evolve over time for people.

When you are determined to quit

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In the current job market, it can be tempting to quit your job before you find a new one.

“I would warn people not to have these knee-jerk reactions,” Ma said.

How much financial runway you have should be an important consideration before making any such move. To calculate this number, take your savings and divide them by your monthly expenses to see how long you could finance your current lifestyle.

Also, remember that although the labor market has tipped in favor of workers, some realities are still true.

It’s generally easier to find a new job when you already have a job, Ma said. You can also negotiate your salary better.

Other financial planning tips to help you find a job include:

  • Calculate the minimum wage required. Add up your monthly expenses and your savings goals to find the minimum salary required. Online salary calculators can be helpful in figuring out what your salary would be if you moved to another city, Ma said.
  • Find out where you can cut your budget. If you are planning to move to a different career, you can streamline your expenses to make the move easier. See where you can save on areas like rent or cable subscriptions. “Maybe that will help fund the gap,” said Ma.
  • Look for ways to negotiate a better deal. If you quit your job now, you could lose an end-of-year bonus. You may be able to settle for this yourself, for example by negotiating a full bonus instead of a prorated bonus.